Amazon is reportedly working on a more premium Echo speaker for next year, planning to add a 7-inch display for extra convenience and functionality.
The Amazon Echo line featuring Amazon's Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant has proven to be quite popular on the tech scene, and an upgraded model with a touch screen display would surely boost its appeal even further.
As Bloomberg reports, the premium Amazon Echo planned for 2017 will work with Alexa much like the existing Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap do, but it will include a 7-inch display for quick access to various information such as calendar, weather forecast and other such.
Echo Meets Fire, Fueled By Alexa
This concept of an Amazon Echo smart speaker with Alexa support and a 7-inch touch display sounds like a merger between Amazon's Echo speaker and Fire tablets, which is not that surprising. Just recently, Amazon unleashed Alexa on mobile, making the voice-controlled assistant available on Fire tablets.
Further backing up the theory of an Echo — Fire combo is Bloomberg's claim that the next-generation Amazon Echo with touch screen will run an optimized Fire OS version. It remains to be seen, however, if Alexa will work the same on the touch screen-equipped Echo as it does on Fire tablets.
In addition to the touch screen display, the next-generation Amazon Echo will reportedly boast new speakers of superior quality compared to the existing Amazon Echo, which has faced criticism over its low-quality audio.
At the same time, the new Amazon Echo will reportedly "tilt upwards" to allow for easier touch control when it's placed on a counter, for instance.
Q1 2017 Unveiling
According to Bloomberg, Amazon will unveil its new Echo speaker sometime in the first quarter of 2017. Considering the notable improvements, however, expect this upgraded model to cost significantly more than the current Amazon Echo.
Amazon Echo And The Competition
Amazon Echo is among the most popular smart speakers of its kind, but it's not unrivaled. Google recently released its own Amazon Echo competitor, introducing the new Google Home voice-controlled speaker. Google's smart speaker hit the market last month, competing directly with Amazon, albeit it remains to be seen which will attract more buyers. For a more detailed comparison between the two, check out our earlier coverage on Amazon Alexa vs. Google Home.
The race is, on and more smart speakers are expected to hit the scene soon enough, boasting their own digital assistants to make things easier and more convenient.
Amazon has yet to confirm whether it is indeed planning to launch an Echo speaker with a touch screen next year, but we'll keep you up to date as soon as we learn more. In the meantime, you can find the current Amazon Echo on sale at Amazon.